Texas Salsa Recipe


Since Jim and I moved away from Texas a few years back to begin training with NTM (a mission organization), we have found ourselves temporarily living in two states – Michigan and Missouri – that, while great in their own ways, are strangers to good Southwestern cooking. This recipe is requested often, and I think every home needs to have good salsa, so I will do my part to make sure justice is served (Wyatt Earp would be so proud)!

Ingredients (makes 5 – 6 cups):

  • 1 dozen large roma tomatoes (or 2 lbs), cut in half lenthwise
  • 5 jalapeño peppers, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 large white onion (or a whole small onion), cut into 4ths
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 bunch (1 cup) cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Go to your local farmers market when these vegetables are in season (late-Summer) to get the freshest ingredients.

Cut the seeds out of all but one (two halves) of the peppers, and discard (Seeds from one pepper makes the salsa slightly spicy. If you like yours crazy-hot, go ahead and keep more of the seeds). Place the tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic on a pan, skin-side up, and brush the tops with canola oil.


Place the pan of vegetables under the broiler for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are good and charred.



Squeeze the juice out of the tomatoes.



Blend all ingredients together.



Chill before serving.



The salsa will keep in the fridge for about a week, but it also freezes well, so I like to divide it into smaller serving-size jars and freeze some for later use.

Ready to Hit the Books Again

After a great time in Texas, we’re happy to be back at NTM’s Missionary Training Center in Missouri for our second year of training here. Our first classes this semester will include Phonemics and Literacy, two of the many classes we have taken or will take that will help equip us to learn an unwritten tribal language, put the language into a written form, teach the native people to read the language, and translate Scripture into the language. Exciting Stuff! We’re eager to keep learning!

Summer in Tejas

We had a great year at the NTM Missionary Training Center in Missouri, and are now in Texas for the Summer. We are looking forward to hanging out and catching up with friends and family! We’ll be in College Station for most of June, in Dallas the first couple weeks of July, and in Abilene the last part of July/first part of August. Drop us a line when we’re in your area – we’d love to get together!

Also, as we see the light at the end of the tunnel in our training, we want to give you an idea of what our next few years will look like (Lord willing!).

NTM Missionary Training Center in Missouri until May, 2013.

Linguistics practicum in Oklahoma in the Fall of 2013.

Possible departure for Asia Pacific: April 2014.

Not Your Everyday Grammar Class

Often people ask us if we are learning language right now in our training.  The short answer is “No.” The reason we’re not, we usually explain, is that we do not yet know which people group we will end up among, and that wherever we do end up, the language is probably not going to be a written language, nor is it likely known by anyone outside of that group, so there is no way we can learn the language until we are actually there.

But while we are not studying any specific language right now, we are learning how to learn an unwritten language – how to analyze the structure and patterns of any given language (For example, have you ever considered why an English speaker would say “The big red ball,” instead of “The red big ball?”). We will need to fully understand the grammatical patterns of the language we work among so that we can put the language into writing, translate Scripture into the language, and teach the people to read their language.  This is the purpose of our current language training.

One of the classes we just finished was a Grammar class in which we analyzed the general grammatical patterns of dozens of different languages. Some of the languages are pretty complex, but below is a simple example to give you a taste of what we’ve been doing.  These words are nouns from the Michoacan Aztec language in Mexico.

nokali = my house
mopelomes = your dogs
ipelo = his dog
mokali = your house

See if you can break apart the words to figure out which part of the word is the noun root, which part of the word shows plurality, and which part shows ownership. The answers are in a comment, which you can access at the bottom right of this post.

Year In Review

Last night we ushered twenty-eleven out the door by watching a TV special of a guy jumping his motorcycle four hundred feet across a San Diego bay.  Well, I watched.  Rachel gracefully reclined in the cradle of my arm and torso with a glazed look in her eyes.  I admit it was not the most exciting way to end a year.  But the sleepy circumstance of our New Year’s Eve bears little resemblance to the twelve months that preceded it.

In short, we:

  • Watched Hudson learn to walk, run, and mumble a handful of words,
  • Completed our second and final year of Bible training at the New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan,
  • Moved into our new apartment near Camdenton, MO to start the second phase of training at New Tribe’s Missionary Training Center,
  • Learned to hear, produce, and interact with the phonetic sounds found in languages worldwide.  We now know the difference between an unaspirated voiceless alveolar stop and a voiced velar fricative,
  • Received an introduction to contextualizing foundational Bible teachings for cross-cultural situations,
  • And began the process of contacting potential fields for future ministry.

In this new year, we are honored and blessed to have the opportunity to continue moving toward this goal: to preach God’s message of redemption to one of the 2000+ people groups that are still waiting to hear it.  This is not a sprint; it is a marathon.  So much preparation must still be done.  But we keep moving ahead with the joyful assurance that the Lord goes before us.

Thanks for your support, and happy new year!

Thankful for Phonetics

One of our classes right now is Phonetics. In the upcoming years we will likely be learning an unwritten language, so we have to be able to recognize, as well as reproduce, many sounds that we English speakers are not used to making. Jim and I both really enjoy this class, so we want to give you a taste of what we’re learning.

One thing we’ve had to learn to do is to make “unaspirated stops.” The letter “p” is one that English speakers aspirate when it is at the beginning of a word, but not when it is in the middle or end of a word. We are so used to this that it is often very difficult to not aspirate a “p” that is at the beginning of a word. To make an unaspirated “p,” put your hand an inch or two in front of your mouth, and try to say the word “pill” in a normal voice without letting a puff of air out with the “p.” … Can you do it? It will sound similar to the word “bill,” but there is a slight difference between the unaspirated “p” sound and the “b” sound. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two, because in many languages it will be the difference in two completely different words. In Thai, for example, the only difference in the word for “older sister or father or mother” and the word for “crazy” is that the former begins with an unaspirated “p,” and the latter begins with a “b.”

Vowels. Can you tell the difference between the vowel sounds in the words “caught” and “cot?” Perhaps you say these words the same, but there should be a slight difference in your mouth’s position – and this slight difference, in a tribal language, could be the difference in you speaking correctly and in you embarrassing yourself horribly or insulting your listeners. When we are learning our language in the tribe, our tribal language-learning helpers will not think to point out these seemingly slight differences to us – just as to us English speakers, we would not think that the words “pete” and “pit” sound similar, but most Indonesians cannot distinguish the difference in the two words. So, in order to learn the language, we must be able to recognize the slightest differences in vowel sounds.

Glottal Stops. Say “cotton” out loud. I’m willing to bet that you did not pronounce the t’s in the middle of the word, but instead made a glottal stop by closing your glottis (in your throat) to stop the air. Some British dialects use heavy glottal stops for words such as “bottle,” or “cattle.” Virtually all native English speakers unconsciously use glottal stops before words beginning with a vowel. Say the letter “a” out loud. Can you tell that you closed your throat before making the sound? Now say “hay.” Now say “hay” again, but this time with only thinking the “h,” and say the “ay” out loud.  In English, the presence or absence of glottal stops does not change the meaning of words, so we don’t even recognize that we use them. But the presence or absence of glottal stops in many other languages can determine the meaning of words. For example, in one language in the Solomon Islands, the only difference between the word for “you” and the word for “adultery” is nothing more than the glottal stop. – yikes!

This Thanksgiving season, I am grateful for NTM’s training!

Three years later…

It’s been exactly three years now.

In October of 2008 I caught a common virus. One of the symptoms of my sickness was a continual headache, but when the sickness left, the headache stayed. Days went by, weeks went by, and months went by with no relief from my constant, debilitating headache, and with no idea when or even if it would




I went from working 8 hours/day to working about 2 or 3 hours/day (yes, my employer was very gracious). Many hours every day were spent lying in a dark room with ice packs surrounding my head.

As you can imagine, going from a healthy, active 23 year old to this state kinda shakes up one’s world. Countless tears were cried as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to have mercy on me. More than anything, this condition (which I eventually learned was called NDPH) drew me to my Father, desperate for Him – desperate for His comfort, and desperate to know Him more. My pain drew out so many questions that were suddenly of utmost importance: questions like, “Did my loving Father allow evil forces to bring this headache, or Did God himself give me this headache?” And “Is this because of something I have done?” And “Is it because of some lesson I need to learn?” And “Who is this God who I know is so very loving because of what He did for me on the Cross, but who would allow something so horrible to happen to His child (and not to mention the unspeakably worse things that happen to countless others)?”

Oh, how I wanted more than anything to understand God and His ways. I had an insatiable hunger to understand God’s love and how He works through pain and through healing. I’ve come to realize that when we have a yearning as deep as I had then (and if it is consistent with God’s will/character as revealed in Scripture), it is a God-given yearning. It is meant to draw us to Himself and for us to ask Him for what it is we want, so that He can give it to us. I have not yet come to understand anywhere close to all that I want to learn about the way God works through pain and healing, nor will I this side of heaven. But God has graciously held me through very difficult times and spoken tenderly of His love to me. He has allowed me to witness the healing of others – sometimes immediate, and sometimes gradual. I don’t know why God repeatedly told me “not yet” for my own healing, but I persisted in asking for it, nonetheless. I have learned so much more about who God is through my pain…

and, through my healing.

Yes, I said my healing.

The absolute worst of my headache pain lasted about one year. Then, it gradually got a little better, (by God’s grace!), and at certain times during and after my pregnancy, it was very mild. It then gradually got worse as my hormones normalized, and so I went back to praying for and asking others to pray for my healing.

Let me pause in the story a moment and encourage you, if you have a physical ailment or any other problem in life (yes, that’s everyone), revisit the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8). Do not ever stop praying for healing or God’s deliverance, saying “Well, I was persistent for a while, but it didn’t work.” That is not persistence! The judge in the parable granted the widow’s request because he knew that would be the only way to shut her up! She was never going to give up asking. That is persistence. I have read/heard of many people who have been healed through prayer after many many years of continually praying for healing, and then finally, just one more prayer offered in faith leads to their healing or deliverance. So continue to pray about the issue and continue to ask other believers to join you in praying for you.

Okay, so back to my story. After pregnancy and post-pregnancy hormones began to normalize, my headache pain was getting worse again – not as bad as it was the first year, but still bad enough to almost daily hinder my ability to take care of my responsibilities as a mother, wife, and student. So, I returned to regularly asking God for healing and asking others to pray for my healing. As I did so, I quickly saw improvement! This was late Spring  of this year (2011). For a few weeks this past Summer, I had virtually no headache!! (To clarify, I still have “a constant headache,” but it is usually so low grade now that I have to intentionally think about it before I even notice it, so it really is nothing. But I still get headaches on top of that constant one when I’m tired, for example, or with loud noises, etc., so those are the “headaches” I will be referring to (I never got those or any other type of headache before this all started)). After those glorious weeks with zero headaches, I began getting headaches here and there, but only one every few days, and the headaches were now very controllable (ie. If I get plenty of rest, avoid loud noises, and keep excedrin on hand, I’m good to go). So, compared to my condition the first year, I am a whole new person! I praise God for the healing that He has brought, and I pray that He will continue to heal me until my headaches are completely gone, for His glory.

I know that countless of you have joined me in praying for my healing, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to post this to let you know that God has answered your prayers. I get emotional thinking about my state when this began compared to now, and I never want to forget how merciful and gracious God has been to me. He is so wonderful, and I know He wants to bless you and me both in ways that we haven’t even thought of. I believe He’s just waiting for us to ask.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:7-9

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21